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Environmental Sampling and Analytical Methods (ESAM) Program

Data Management

Following a wide-area chemical, biological (pathogen and/or biotoxin), or radiological contamination incident, a substantial amount of data will be collected during all phases of the response. All data associated with environmental sampling and analysis activities will need to be checked for quality and maintained in order to advise decision-making. The size and scope of the hazardous contamination could require a significant technological undertaking and data management could continue for many years. Examples of data that might be collected include: 

  • location of sample collection 
  • sample type (e.g. air, soil, wipe) 
  • technique or equipment used to take the sample 
  • time/date
  • identification of personnel that collected the sample  
  • laboratory results from the analysis of the sample 
  • documentation of quality assurance checks conducted throughout sampling and analysis 
  • photos

Data management frameworks are plans that are developed to support the data management process including the individual tools, technologies, and processes used to plan, collect, store, retrieve, visualize, and distribute data. Examples of tools, technologies, and resources that could be used during data management include: 

  • computers, tablets, or mobile devices 
  • software applications 
  • databases 
  • data models
  • Geographic Information System platforms
  • laboratory reporting tools
  • guidance documents 

A complete understanding of how these data and data management tools work together and a process for evaluating new technologies and tools are critical to the success of EPA’s data management efforts.